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The Outside of a Horse Hardcover – May 13, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books (May 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803734786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803734784
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9 Hannah, 13, has always loved watching horse races on television with her father, but when she begins to help out at a local riding stable, she discovers how much more she enjoys working with real animals, especially those who have suffered abuse. She particularly loves a filly named Rega, the offspring of a Premarin mare (a pregnant horse from which urine is collected to make pharmaceuticals). When her dad returns from Iraq as an amputee suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Hannah's work at the stable not only helps her cope with the problems at home, but also leads her to equine-assisted psychotherapy and riding therapy for her troubled father. Things improve, but Hannah will need all her strength to make a difficult decision when Rega suffers a terrible injury. Like Rorby's Hurt Go Happy (Tor, 2006), this book is laden with so many issues the problems of returning vets, various and horrifying types of abuse of horses, humane Parelli horse training methods that they nearly overwhelm the story, and the horse/human amputee metaphor becomes heavy-handed. However, this novel really shines in showing how horses can help troubled humans heal their physical and emotional wounds. There's plenty of fodder here for spirited book discussions. Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Hannah visits the horses up the road for the pleasure of their company and to escape the pain of her mother’s death, the demands of stepmom Sondra, and the fear resulting from her dad’s deployment in Iraq. When he comes home missing a leg and plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder, Hannah longs for the old days when they shared a love of horses and a keen interest in famous racehorses. She works with adult friends in the equestrian community—horse-rescue activists—to get him help through a therapeutic riding program and keep their life together. Although the enormity of loss resting on young Hannah’s shoulders spurs her to heroic achievement on behalf of her father, she still comes across as a believable teen. As a backdrop to the story, Rorby has interwoven a good deal of disturbing information about animal cruelty. Horse lovers and most others will saddle up right away with this poignant tale. Grades 7-10. --Anne OMalley

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
91%
4 star
9%
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See all 22 customer reviews
I couldn't put it down, and I'm still crying.
Maureen Eppstein
It is through Ginny Rorby's believable characters and realistic situations that the reader feels so connected to the animals and humans of her novels.
Kellee M.
This book should be read by any girl who has a pasion for horse.
Fiona M. Curran

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Karen K. Lewis on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This novel follows Hannah through a couple tough years following the loss of her mom to cancer. When her dad's called up from the reserves and deployed to Iraq, Hannah faces not just one crisis, but many. Hanna finds sanctuary--and later a direction forward in her life--at the horse stable nearby her house. She discovers that horses are companions that never judge you, and are always there: solid, warm, willing to be close if you are patient.
This is not NATIONAL VELVET with rags to riches glory. This is a story that explores true horsemanship and describes many levels of communication that can be created between humans and horses. If you've ever driven or walked by a field where horses graze and people ride and wondered what it would be like to have a horse, this book will show you the true workings of a small stable. You'll discover what it's like to be up close on the ground with a variety of horse personalities. You may even discover how to help care for horses without owning one. There are many organizations that rescue neglected horses; and they may be in need of volunteer help, even if you start out like Hannah, with basic mucking out and feeding duties.
Hannah shows maturity beyond her years when she's called to deal with issues including alcoholism, disability, abandonment, and loneliness. This book does a great job of describing many different aspects of horsemanship, way beyond leaping on a horse's back and galloping away.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Maureen Eppstein on May 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I finished reading The Outside of a Horse in one sitting. I couldn't put it down, and I'm still crying. Such a powerful, real, and ultimately positive story. There are kids all over the country who face family issues similar to her heroine, Hannah Gale. The Outside of a Horse will give them the courage to keep going. Rorby is also going to get kids all over the country riled up about the treatment of horses. Her book is a classic example of writing being an instrument for social change.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By sister #3 on June 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My teen days are long past but "The Outside of A Horse will appeal to adults as well as the young. This book made me want to be a better person. Ginny Rorby's characters and their relationships are complex and moving. She writes about real people healing themselves through acts of kindness and healing towards others, whether those "others" have two or more (or less) legs. Keep the tissue box handy, but prepare to be inspired by the better world that Rorby creates, and you'll end this book believing that better world is possible if we stick with hope and love and give others a second chance.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kellee M. on May 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Ginny Rorby writes books about animal-human relationships and the healing power of these animals. This is animal fiction that falls into a completely different realm than others. She breathlessly intertwines human problems with animals. Her previous book, Hurt Go Happy, dealt with Joey, a deaf young girl, her mother's inability to deal with her disability, and how Sukari, a young chimpanzee, helps Joey and her mother accept their life. Her newest book,The Outside of a Horse, deals with Hannah. Hannah Gale feels so alone. Her mother passed away from cancer a few years ago, her father is fighting in Iraq, her stepmother doesn't really connect with her, and her brother, Jeffy, is just too young to be there for her. The only comfort to Hannah is when her school bus drives by the stables and she gets to see the horses. It is through these horses that Hannah finds comfort during this difficult time in her life that just keeps getting worse and worse.

It is through Ginny Rorby's believable characters and realistic situations that the reader feels so connected to the animals and humans of her novels. Both The Outside of a Horse and Hurt Go Happy deal with not only a human issue, but an animal issue as well. The Outside of a Horse shows the reader the truth behind horse racing. What makes Rorby's books different, though, is that she teaches about an animal issue, but does not preach. She lets you take in the truth and decide for yourself if it is an injustice or not.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Susan Z. Bono on June 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Why does the belief persist that a YA novel can't be truly important? Entertaining and imaginative, yes, like the Harry Potter series, or clever, like the writing of Lemony Snickett, but someone like me singing the praises of Ginny Rorby's books to readers over the age of 15 is pretty much wasting her breath. What a shame, because YA authors like Rorby place their young protagonists in complex, gut-wrenching, grownup situations that can never be neatly tied up and topped with a bow. Rorby offers the added bonus of portraying both humans and animals with extraordinary compassion and accuracy. I always learn a lot. As a result, her writing is more compelling and satisfying than many of the highly-praised "grownup" novels I am constantly being urged to read.

As in her previous books, DOLPHIN SKY and HURT GO HAPPY, THE OUTSIDE OF A HORSE focuses on a troubled pre-adolescent girl and her relationship with one kind of animal--in this case, mistreated horses. As the story unfolds, the reader learns about the exploitation of race horses, the market for horse meat, and other abusive conditions too many horses must endure. Rorby is sensitive to her audience's tolerance for horror, but she doesn't sugarcoat. To do so would deny the issue's importance.

But despite the weighty subject matter, this book is anything but grim. As thirteen-year-old Hannah Gale learns to care for the horses she discovers at a nearby stable, she gains the strength and understanding to face some of the challenges in her own life. Her work with horses is exciting, inspiring, and deeply moving. She learns that even a child can make a difference, and that alone makes a book like Rorby's important.
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More About the Author

I was raised in Winter Park, Florida, where we lived on a lake. I think it was a Purple gallinule who sparked my interest in wildlife and eventually my love of all animals with the exception of palmetto bugs (big roaches.) Purple gallinules look a little like coots, but are purplish blue, have yellow legs, long toes and a beak the color of candy corn. This one, named Big Foot, came back every summer for five years, padding in and out of our kitchen at will for handouts. After high school and a failed attempt at being a bank teller, I moved to Miami and went to work as a flight attendant for National Airlines. In 1980, Pan American Airways bought that company and I worked for them for another 9 years. About midway through my flying career I came to my senses and realized that if I was ever going to do anything else, I needed an education. At age 33, I enrolled in the University of Miami to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology, specializing in ornithology--the study of birds. It was an accidental encounter with an abandoned dog that launched my 'writing career.' After taking eight years to finish my undergraduate studies, I went to graduate school and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. My goal then became to move someplace where I would never be hot again. I now live on the chilly coast of northern California with my thirty-five year-old parrot and two cats. I share my three-acre, forested space, as graciously as I can, with skunks, possums, raccoons, an occasional black bear and a mountain lion. A single (and I hope it stays that way) Little Brown bat has lived in the rafters of bathroom for the last five years sleeping (thankfully) directly above the sink. I wouldn't want to hurt my parrot's feelings, but I think my favorite pet of all time was an albino Red Rat snake named Rosie. If I could come back as an animal I would like to return as a Turkey vulture. Some one else kills your food for you and the rest of the time you get to ride thermals of warm air with your friends. Being a bird and flying with friends, what more could one ask for?

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